Reflections after one year of FS ownership

One Year Reflections of a Flying Scot Owner

After racing Lightnings 35 years ago (mediocre racer), and sailing Lasers on a small lake for the last 15 years, my wife and I, rapidly losing our flexibility, but still wanting to sail and expand our sailing, bought a Flying Scot one year ago. For those sitting on the fence or considering whether to buy a Flying Scot, I thought my brief reflections may help. The short answer is, “Buy the Flying Scot.” We really like ours. It serves our sailing wants well.

We considered smaller boats and keel boats, but wanted an easily trailerable and easy to set up day sail boat that we could use on smaller lakes and Lake Michigan, handle ourselves, but could take another couple, could use a small motor, and would have good stability. Yes, sometimes the Flying Scott is a little big for the smaller lakes, and a keel boat would be nice on Lake Michigan, but choosing a sailboat is always a compromise, although the Flying Scot meant very little compromise for what we wanted.

We have not single handed our Flying Scot, although many people do. We have sailed it with just the two of us on smaller lakes and on Lake Michigan with 10-15 mph winds and three foot waves. We’ve have had 5 adults multiple times and even 7 adults once on Lake Michigan in 10 -15 mph winds. The boat handles well in 10-15 mph winds under full sail, and still handles well (We raise the center board slightly to take away the weather helm.) under just the main when the winds get gustier although we still try to stay off the water with really strong winds yet. It was “surprisingly comfortable” with 7 as it really does have a roomy cockpit. (I know that it “seats 8” according to its ads.)

As we’re still mediocre sailors, I would be more comfortable with a keel boat on Lake Michigan with stronger winds, but we’re getting more comfortable with the Flying Scot with each outing. Door County, a common and beautiful sailing destination on Green Bay, is just over a 2 hour drive and 30 minute boat set up to be sailing there while it more than a day and a half sail (or motor) in a keel boat from our home port. The Flying Scot makes this a very feasible day trip. We have the aluminum trailer, and the boat pulls easily behind our Sienna or our RAV4. It sets up so easily with its hinged mast pin, and launches and retrieves so easily from most boat launches that exploring new places to sail becomes fun to do rather than a challenge.

We bought a “near new” boat that was well cared for, and all sails and gear were in excellent shape. Flying Scots are solid boats, so we’ve had no unexpected expenses. While I suspect we would sail slightly more if we kept the boat at a marina, we store the boat in our garage and take it out each time we want to sail. We do save the cost of a marina, but also this allows us to choose where to sail each time we go out. Again set up is incredibly easy so hasn’t deterred us from sailing.

We’ve added a swim ladder and grip to the boat for ease of getting in with the idea of being able to anchor and swim off the boat although so far we haven’t done this.

While likely the purists will be disappointed, I bought a 2.5 Suzuki 4 cycle out board. (See my previous post.) Raising the motor mount board (actually I cut a new board) brought the cavitation plate to the correct level, allows the motor to lock in the up position correctly, and generally keeps the motor from dragging in the water while under sail. I use the “palm device” as describe elsewhere in this forum and so far have had no problem with leaving the motor attached while sailing. While we often could sail to and from the boat launch dock, using the motor takes the “tense moments” away from the most difficult parts of sailing, and the motor sure was great when the wind totally died on Lake Michigan, and we were 3.5 miles from port!!! The boat paddles quite easily also for those “motorless Sundays” on one of our smaller lakes, but 3.5 miles!!! I like my motor and would recommend it for any Flying Scot cruiser.

I’ve made a few things to make set ups, take downs, and trailering a little simpler and quicker, but these additions aren’t really necessary. I made a “mast sleeve,” use the pole wrapping method for the main sail, and after drying the main sail often attach the foot to the boom and slip the boom with the rolled and attached main sail into the sail bag (I added an extension) to make the next set up quicker. I’m toying with a jib downhaul (See previous posting), and for those leisure cruises, added cup holders - Minivans have them!!! Actually I don’t want to drill any holes in my boat so the cup holder are in a “prototype stage” right now, but “clip” into place and work quite well.

Future: Except for a little splash when there are 3 foot waves, the boat is dry, and we hope to sail with jackets on enjoying the fall colors. We’ve not yet used the spinnaker this year as my wife still starts perspiring just thinking about flying the spinnaker on our Lightning 35 year ago in a strong wind during a race (yes, we swam.) However, for cruising, I like the simple, factory set up for the spinnaker, and the Flying Scot spinnaker is only 200 square feet rather than the 307 square feet of the Lightning spinnaker. I’m sure we can handle it. We may take lessons next year to correct our errors and help my wife, and I gain confidence. Likely we will drive to Door County to watch the Flying Scot nationals next summer to check out the different riggings.

In summary, if you’re thinking of a sailboat this size, or maybe even if you’re thinking of a sailboat of any size, I believe you’ll be happy with a Flying Scot. Sure, if racing is your priority, and Lightnings, but not Flying Scots, are raced in your area and you can always find enough for 3 crew, the Lightning is also an excellent boat, but for us, we’re glad we bought a Flying Scot. I’ve not yet joined the FSSA as I’m generally not a “joiner,” but the people at the builders, Flying Scot, Inc., and members of this forum have been great with help, advice, and ideas. Perhaps we’ll join in the future.

Any other comments, reflections?

Thanks and good sailing to all.

Rog Klettke

You are right on the money with all of your comments regarding the Flying Scot.

It is a wonderful boat that truly gets better as your confidence in her increases.

After a number of years, this off season we sold our Scot with the intention of moving into a keelboat. After going through the exercise of looking and comparing many different boats, along with what we truly love to do with our boat (race), we bought a new Scot.

The two greatest factors in 'closing the deal' was 1) the Scot people we have met, 2) the logical way the class contains cost of ownership, no gold toilet seats in this class.

An encouragement to join the Flying Scot Asssociation is in order, they provide a wonderful service to the Class as a whole (not just 'racers') and offer privledges we are fortunate to have as a Class.

Hi Rog,

I bought my Scot in Oct of last year, so I have had it about a year now too. I also like her VERY much. She does everything very well.

I noticed that you use the “pole” setup for rolling the main. Would you please tell us about that? What did you use for poles? Lengths? Diameters?

I currently flake my main on top of the boom, but I think rolling would be much better.



Vero Beach, FL

I enjoyed reading your comments. We have been sailing our FS for the last 1.5 years, and can second all your comments. We have even started to race a little, althoungh its is not our main interest.
I was the sailor, that first listed/discussed the Palm Devise, the Pole-to roll the main up,and the Jib Downhaul. I am especially gald to see that you have experienced these items!! I would suggest that you consider adding the Reefing System to your boat, it sounds like you would benefit from it, I know we enjoy our Reef ability. Also, I would suggest that you try a Whisker Pole, on the Jib, for those days you do not want to use a Spinnaker. We use both Spinnaker and Whisker Poles, and have found them both very useful.
I have added several modifications that have improved our boat. 1. cup holders, 2. Brackets that secure our oars to either side of the center board trunk, 3. Brackets that mount under the seats to store the boom crutch, dock pole, whisker pole, main sail rolling pole, 4. Spinnaker Pole tube/holder- that mounts under the front deck.
I will add pictures of all these soon.

Yes, I have followed the advice and comments of bigpapaporsche on many topics and have really appreciated his help. He has had many good ideas and his posts are worth reading. Thanks, Pat! I was reluctant to start crediting individuals as I was sure I would forget someone as many helpful suggestions have been on this forum. The basic pole "roll up" of the mainsail is in bigpapaporsche comments under "Hoisting and Dousing the Main Sail."

Being rather "cheap," I did buy 2 eight foot lengths of 3/4 inch pvc pipe which is easy to find, light, and much cheaper than aluminum or steel. They definitely are more flexible than the aluminum or steel so I'm sure bigpapaporsche's poles are better, but so far the pvc works alright and accomplishes what I want to do. I am gradually cutting them shorter as that proves feasible. Currently they are about 7 feet long and I'll probably go shorter. I wrapped duct tape around both ends of both poles before taping them together as bigpapaporsche recommended. This kept a small slot between them which allows feeding the head of the main sail, to the first batten, easy. I then roll up the main on the poles remaining perpendicular to the leach of the sail so the battens lie parallel and smooth to the poles. When I get to the boom, I use sail straps to hold the sail, poles, and boom all together. So far it works pretty well. I am a "fiddler" so I am still "fiddling" with all aspects of my boat set up. That's why I enjoy the comments from all the forum members. Thanks to all.

FS5516's picture

How about 31 years! The Scot has been of part of me since I was a teen and hopefully for many more years to come. I can sail it singlehanded, race and sail with my family as well. It's such a great boat and well designed. This past year, my 14 year old son raced with me and we did quite well among our fleet at CPYC in Westport. The fleet at CPYC is a very competitive group but at the same time, we all go out of our way to help others in our fleet get better. I found this to be true even at local regattas or at national events.

FS 5516
Don't Panic

Well, we got our used Scot last Fall 07 so it has been a year already. I spent all fall getting it ready (bottom paint, cleaning, getting acquainted with it) but didn't really sail her until late spring 09. Added swim ladder and grab bar and learned how to anchor it and make an anchor crate with nonskid rubber on bottom to sit on foredeck. My wife and I have been sailing since 1982 and this is our 6th boat and we definitely like it best for overall sailing pleasure. Now the cockpit pleasures and comfort for aftersailing at the dock were better on the Hunter 27. This boat is so much faster in any wind than most other boats on our lake...especially in lighter air. We just sail up to folks and say hello and sail away while they wish they were in our boat.
And we sort of joined the local sailing association of a great mixture of many boats (about 15) and we got 1st in last race and 2nd in race before that (only 4 seconds out of 1st). My wife generally does not like racing because everyone is so serious, but this boat sails so easily and is so fast we find it delightful and she likes to win or at least be ahead. There were 6 of us onboard once when we took the backyard neighbors family (two children 9 & 12) with pretty good wind but we found it sort of a chore to get folks moved around when tacking so like to take just one other couple. I often send an email to the Virginia Tech Sailing Team Club offering to take anyone out and the ones that come along thoroughly love the Scot...they have FJ's mostly in their fleet. I like all the ideas of the forum members because I am a doodler-improver-modifier, so this boat keeps the hobby aspect active. The spinnaker is also a great aspect but haven't used that much yet.
Highly recommend a Scot.....they are totally fun and enjoyable.
We need a motor to get into our state park marina and maneuver between the docks...tried paddling but just not as much fun.


I enjoyed your comments, but don't understand what an "Anchor Crate" is. Please describe this item, and how/why it sit on the foredeck.

Also, if you plan on using a motor, like we do, I would highly recommend that you the "Palm Device," you can use the search function in the forum to find info on it.

Here in Wisconsin, the snow is great for skiing, I'm tying flies for my main hobby, fly fishing, but I'm also dreaming of sailing. I thought I'd take a moment to update my one year Flying Scot ownership reflection of Sept. 2008.

We've now completed our second summer of sailing our Flying Scot. We still store the boat between sailing on its trailer in our garage. We've gained a lot of confidence in the boat, and a little more confidence in our abilities. We sailed this summer almost exclusively on Lake Michigan which is about a 20 minute drive from our house, and we can be "on the water," boat set up and launched in under an hour from leaving our house (about a 30min, non rushed set up.) We like 10 -15 mph winds, but still enjoy the sailing with 5mph winds and, with shortened sail, don't get too nervous with 20 mph winds. We did not take any lessons, as we had considered, but have sailed in our boat with a friend who is a big boat sailor and a very good sailor. He felt that we would benefit most from just more sailing experience and didn't really need more lessons. We still enjoy having our 2.5 Suzuki motor and the palm device.

We bought a used reefable Schurr mainsail and the jiffy reefing kit. In strong winds, we have reefed the main and some times dropped the jib to bring the boat back into easy control. If wind strength is in doubt, we have set the reefing rig up before leaving the dock, and my wife and I have been able to easily reef the main "on the fly." With the jib up and reefed main, the boat balances well. If we drop the jib, pulling the centerboard back a little balances that configuration also.

I bought the spinnaker pole downhaul, but haven't moved the spinnaker halyard aft yet. We did fly the spinnaker this summer with the std rigging. My wife, at the tiller, pulls the guy, while I handle the halyard and then the sheet. The system works very well both for hoisting and dousing the spinnaker, and I probably will stick with the std factory rigging unless we get into serious racing which is unlikely.

I'm retired so much of our sailing has been "spur of the moment" when the weather conditions are right. Therefore commonly our sailing is just my wife and myself. But we have also taken other family members and friends. The boat handles another couple great, and we've taken up to seven people sailing. The cupholder I made to slip on the centerboard trunk (no holes in the boat) only holds four sodas or beers, but otherwise the boat handled seven people well.

The people (too numerous to name for fear of forgetting someone) on this forum have been extremely helpful with knowledgeable advise and good opinions and recommendations adding to the fun of owning a Flying Scott. The people at Flying Scott, Inc. have also been extremely helpful and offer good equipment at reasonable prices. They definitely add value to owning the Flying Scott.

I have read about rare broken forestays on this forum, and since I occasionally drop my jib during strong winds and don't want to go on the foredeck to fasten the jib halyard to the bow eye at those times, I'll probably get the thicker (1/8 inch) forestay and extension before next summer. Otherwise, I can't think of any new equipment to tinker with this winter while dreaming of sailing. Oh, well!

In short, am I pleased with our Flying Scott. You bet I am! If you like, or strongly think you'll like sailing, but are still sitting on the fence about which boat to get, I would strongly recommend a Flying Scott. It's very economical also, but mainly I would emphasize how versatile and fun it is to sail. We've had ours now for 2 years now, find it very adaptable to small or large lake day sailing, is easily handled by 2 (others state "easily single handed also) and is great for taking a few friends along. We are appreciating it more and more with each time out. I'm sure that we actually sail more with our Flying Scott than we would have with a larger and more expensive boat. You'll like yours also. (Incidentally, since this sounds like an advertisement, I want to state that I have no affiliation with any Flying Scott products. I'm just a relatively new, enthusiastic Flying Scott owner)

Rog Klettke 1/09/2010

Hi Rog....I'm a total rookie in regard to sailing. Happens to be a life-long "bucket-list desire to learn though.

Am also from Wisconsin and would like to hook up with you next summer if possible to see your boat and pick youe brain a bit.

Haven't found any other Scot owners round these parts yet. Have been researching boats for the past 3 years and always seem to return to the Scot...a marina in Madison had a rough looking used boat 2 years ago...kinda looked into that for awhile, but didn't act on it.

Am also approaching retirement age...57 now...and not as "athletic" as I once was...if ya know what I
Through years of goaltending and catching the knees are but a distant memory, and the Scot seems resonably easy to move about in.

I'll keep an eye on these boards for any responce...thanks.

Rick Allison...Baraboo, Wisconsin